Saturday, June 24, 2006

San Francisco

Ah, the irony of using environmental laws to block a plan intended to increase bicycle use, an environmentally friendly transportation mode! Welcome to America!

The cautionary note in this for the rest of us is that what happens in California usually spreads to the rest of the nation. If this challenge is effective, we can expect to see more 'environmental impact' studies of various bicycle facilities and projects.

As I've said before, we enjoy an enormous range of freedom in this country, unless we muck about with automobile traffic!


SAN FRANCISCO
Judge puts city's bicycle plan on hold

Injunction imposed until project's review process examined

Rachel Gordon, Chronicle Staff Writer

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A San Francisco judge has let the air out of the city's ambitious bicycle plan, forbidding the striping of new bike lanes and preventing Muni from allowing riders to take their two-wheelers aboard trains.

Superior Court Judge James Warren issued a preliminary injunction this week at the request of two groups, Coalition for Adequate Review and 99 Percent, which are seeking greater public review of the bicycle plan. The plan, approved last year by the Board of Supervisors and Mayor Gavin Newsom, is designed to make the streets of San Francisco more bicycle-friendly by creating more dedicated bike lanes and places to securely stow bikes.

The injunction will stay in place until the court decides whether the bike plan has undergone adequate environmental review. A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 13.

The groups' leaders say they are not anti-bicycle but in favor of due process. They sued the city in July 2005, arguing that San Francisco violated state environmental law by not properly assessing the plan's effects on the flow of automobile traffic and public transit, and on the availability of street parking.

...Rob Anderson, an activist who sued the city. "Just because we're progressives here in San Francisco doesn't mean we're above the law. They're eliminating parking and taking away lanes of traffic. What we want is a full (environmental impact report) so the public will know exactly how this plan affects them.''

He said the city has opted to cater to a small group of bicyclists to the detriment of motorists.

E-mail Rachel Gordon at rgordon@sfchronicle.com.

4 Comments:

Blogger Paul Tay said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:53 AM  
Blogger pedaller said...

I'm from Sydney, Australia, and I have to say we will be following this story with some interest. We have a similar problem, bike lanes were installed on a major Sydney road late last year as part of a major road project (the Cross City Tunnel). The NSW State Government is now threatening to rip up the bike lanes and re-build a traffic lane to appease the motoring lobby.
My word of warning is this, just because cycling infrastructure gets built (even with an EIS), there's no room for complacency, what gets built can just as easily be destroyed.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Paul Tay said...

Perhaps you should sue and turn the tables on the motoring interests within NSW State Government. Force them to justify a motor lane with an environmental impact study. What goes 'round, comes 'round.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Fritz said...

In the U.S., new roads and highways always must have an accompanying EIS. Ditto for rail transit lines, MUPs, pedestrian bridges and underpasses, and so forth. An MUP extension was nixed this year in Longmont because it would have disturbed a nesting site for a pair of bald eagles.

Of course, the folks who filed the suit in San Francisco aren't the least bit interested in the environment, but we all knew that already. One of the arguments that are regularly posed is that bikes damage the environment because they create congestion, resulting in longer running times for engines and more pollution.

12:29 PM  

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